Rollover Semi-Truck Accidents in Charlotte, N.C.
Large trucks are top-heavy vehicles, which makes them particularly prone to rollover accidents. Watching a 40-ton tanker topple over is a terrifying experience, and colliding with one is especially dangerous.
An average of four rollover truck accidents occur per day in the United States, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). The agency’s most recent data found that rollovers were the top contributing factor in 186 fatal truck accidents and 4,000 injury crashes in a recent year.
If you were injured in a rollover truck accident in Charlotte, you have the right to seek compensation for your losses. The Charlotte truck accident attorneys at Stewart Law Offices can investigate your accident, gather strong evidence, and negotiate aggressively for the money you deserve.
Call or contact us today for a free consultation.
What Causes Rollover Semi-Truck Accidents?
Rollovers happen when a factor — or a combination of factors — increase side-to-side movement along the length of a truck. The most common underlying causes of rollover semi-truck accidents include:
- Driver error: According to FMCSA, simple driving errors among truckers are responsible for more than three-quarters of truck tank rollover accidents. Speeding and inattention are the leading causes of all types of truck accidents.
- Fatigue: Long-haul truckers are on the road for extended periods of time. Drowsiness plays a role in as many as 13 percent of truck accidents.
- Driver intoxication: Truck drivers who drive under the influence of drugs and alcohol will have impaired judgment and reduced reaction time. If the truck begins drifting on the shoulder, an intoxicated driver might overcorrect, throwing the truck off balance and causing a rollover.
- Inexperience: Truckers need specialized training to learn evasive maneuvers to prevent accidents. Drivers new to the profession have logged less time on the roads and may have less practice with techniques needed to prevent rollovers.
- Overloaded cargo: Trailers that are overweight can lessen the effectiveness of brakes or cause tire blowouts, potentially leading to catastrophic rollover accidents.
- Improper cargo loading: Cargo must be secured appropriately at all times. If it is not loaded or secured properly, it may shift unexpectedly within trailers and force trucks to rotate too far to one side.
- Environmental factors: Roadways that are dark, wet, icy, or curvy may contribute to truck rollover accidents if drivers are unable to adjust their driving accordingly.
- Defective truck components: Defective brakes, trailer hitches, or wheels can contribute to rollover accidents if trucks are too unsteady to turn or stop safely.
Understanding what caused a truck to roll over is vital in order to determine who should be held liable after a crash. An experienced truck accident lawyer will investigate the facts and ensure that all responsible parties are held accountable for your losses.
Injuries Caused by Rollover Truck Accidents
Rollover truck accidents have the potential to cause catastrophic injuries, both to the driver and other motorists. Examples include:
- Traumatic brain injuries (TBI)
- Broken bones
- Back and neck injuries
- Cuts and lacerations
- Shoulder damage
- Torso trauma
- Spinal cord injury/paralysis
- Abdominal injuries
- Knee and leg injuries
- Foot and ankle injuries
- Arm, wrist, and hand injuries
- Heat, friction, and chemical burns
- Facial injuries and disfigurement
- Internal bleeding
- Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)
- Wrongful death
Depending on the severity of the injury(s), truck accident victims can incur anywhere from thousands to millions of dollars in medical expenses and rehabilitation over the course of a lifetime. A successful truck accident claim can help individuals recover compensation to account for medical costs and anticipated expenses in the future.
Rollover Accident Fatalities
According to FMCSA, rollover truck accidents were listed as the first harmful event in four percent of all fatal truck crashes in a recent year. Though rollovers are relatively rare, they have the potential to cause fatal harm to a large number of motorists at once.
Several different factors increase the risk of fatalities in rollover truck accidents. First, trucks are bigger and heavier than passenger cars, so when they roll over, they fall onto a much larger surface area and land with significantly more force. This puts a wider range of nearby vehicles at risk of colliding with an overturned, multi-ton trailer.
In addition, a trailer that rolls over is tall enough to actually land on top of nearby vehicles and fatally crush the occupants inside.
The cargo that large commercial trucks haul presents another potentially fatal hazard. Big rigs often haul several tons of cargo at a time, which may spill out across the roadway after a rollover. Colliding with flying objects can cause deadly harm to oncoming motorists, even if they manage to avoid impact with the overturned truck itself.
Compensation for a Rollover Truck Accident
If you were involved in a North Carolina rollover truck accident, chances are you sustained some fairly serious injuries. You may be forced to miss work while you recover or wait to undergo treatment, which can drain your bank account as bills begin to pile up. One of the best ways to take back control of your situation is by filing a personal injury claim with the help of a Charlotte truck accident attorney.
With a successful truck accident injury claim, you could be eligible to receive three types of compensation. The first type is reimbursable expenses, which are based on actual dollar amounts from your out-of-pocket expenses, such as:
- Past and present medical bills
- Physical therapy and long-term care expenses
- Home renovation costs to accommodate a new disability
- Costs to repair or replace damaged property
- Lost wages from missed time at work
The second type of compensation is more difficult to calculate. This reimbursement is intended to compensate accident victims for intangible losses such as:
- Lost future earning potential
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost quality of life
The third and final category of compensation involves punitive damages. Punitive damages are only awarded in circumstances that involve at-fault parties whose actions were willful, malicious, or egregiously negligent. North Carolina caps punitive damage awards at three times the amount of compensatory damages combined or $250,000, whichever amount is greater.
How to Prove Negligence in a Rollover Semi-Truck Accident
Proving who is at fault for a semi-truck accident is more complex than a traditional car accident. That’s because multiple parties may be to blame. Getting a lawyer to conduct a thorough investigation into the crash will allow you to determine who may be held liable.
For example, a fatigued trucker may be held liable for a rollover accident if it’s shown that he/she violated FMCSA regulations that limit how long a driver can stay on the road before taking a rest break. But let’s say the company who loaded the truck’s trailer didn’t secure the cargo properly and it shifted during travel, throwing the truck off balance and making it more likely to tip. Both the drowsy driver and the cargo company acted negligently, so both could potentially be liable for the rollover crash.
A Charlotte truck accident attorney at Stewart Law Offices will work to identify every possible act of negligence led to the rollover crash that injured you. Our knowledgeable legal team has decades of experience collecting strong evidence that supports claims for maximum compensation.
Evidence that can be useful in a truck accident claim includes:
- Medical records
- Photos and video footage of the accident scene and your injuries
- Eyewitness statements
- Truck driver’s hours-of-service logs
- The driver’s cell phone or GPS records
- Truck inspection and maintenance records
- Data from truck black box recorders and in-cab cameras
- Truck driver’s medical history and driving safety record
- Employment and hiring records
- Truck company’s compliance and inspection history
- Cargo manifests and cargo-loading company safety records
- Testimony from accident reconstruction specialists, life care planners, and vocational rehabilitation representatives to explain how the accident happened and how it has impacted your life
By piecing together exactly what happened and showing how you have been harmed, Stewart Law Offices can create a compelling claim that stands up to challenges from insurance companies. If they’re unwilling to make a fair settlement offer, we won’t hesitate to take your case to trial if that’s what it takes to give you the best possible chance for the money you deserve.
Injured in a Charlotte Truck Accident? Contact Stewart Law Offices Today
It’s important to take action quickly in a truck accident case. Truck companies are not required to keep certain records indefinitely, which means that important evidence could be lost if you don’t act fast.
The truck accident lawyers in Charlotte of Stewart Law Offices can get to work on your case right away. We know how important your case is to you, because it’s just as important to us. You’ll never feel alone or out of the loop with our attorneys by your side.
There’s no charge for an initial case review. Call or contact us for your free consultation.